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Do Deer Dig Jasmine? (Surprise!)

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gardener notes Gardeners Notes
Plant type: vines
Deer resistant: somewhat
Our plant hardiness zone:
New Zealand: subtropical
U.S. Zone 10b

Do you know what's always a treat for the senses? The unmistakable, sweet aroma of jasmine! This flowering plant is a favorite among gardeners and homeowners alike, and it's not hard to see why. With its delicate blooms and intoxicating scent, jasmine is the perfect addition to any backyard oasis.

jasmine vine on the fence

One possible problem though: deer. Do they find jasmine appetizing? We can answer this question for you because we have both: deer and jasmine plants

It is thought that deer dislike aromatic greenery, things like rosemary, lavender or mint are definitely not a popular food choice for these animals. But jasmine? Not so fast… Unlike lavender, this plant is more succulent. And for whatever other reasons deer just don’t mind it. At least, when it's not actively blooming. Is it on the top of their food preference list? Not really. But can it be stripped bare of all the foliage? Yes. That’s what they've done to ours on one occasion. It only takes 1 deer to strip this vine bare within its reach.

good appetite for jasmine

Junkie the doe reaching for some jasmine

Our plant has survived and sent new shoots but there was no flowering next season. Which is pretty sad because the whole point of us planting it was the scent of blooms. So since that vicious attack it’s been hidden behind a high plastic netting, and deer would still try to get to it sometimes, pushing through, sticking their heads into any loose openings. Today I've exposed it again because I was doing some gardening there, and voila - this old doe is helping herself to the viney shrub!

So our verdict is, while jasmine may not be the best deer attractant, once they’re in the vicinity of it, they won’t mind an easy new addition to their ration. It is not deer proof. 

star jasmine

14 November 2023 update. It's spring time in New Zealand and our jasmine has finally started blooming again! So we can now confirm the variety, and it is star jasmine. So if you're looking for a deer proof vine, you might want to pass on star jasmine. Just our experience though, population of deer in your area might have different tastes, so there's still hope.

4 December 2023 update. More evidence of deer damage on our star jasmine:

star jasmine plant damaged by deer

Last modified 04 December 2023 at 09:33

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Do you know what kind of Jasmine you have? I’m thinking of planting Star jasmine and we have a serious overpopulation of deer that have decimated many other shrubs

Most likely that's the kind. Lost the tag for it long time ago, but that's what Google lens suggests as #1 guess for this image.

jasmine variety

Also, 'star jasmine' is what seems to be most often stocked in local garden centers, so that's what we probably got.

It stopped flowering after this first vicious attack of deer eating most foliage its first year. Hopefully this year it will bloom (it's spring in New Zealand). Growing vigorously but no flowers yeat. I only remember them being white and fragrant.

A solution for it is having it climb as high as possible so it's hard for deer to reach. Great plant otherwise, very hardly.

If you care to try something different, Endless Summer Hydrangea seems to be quite deer proof. But of course, if you got tons of hungry deer they might be ready to eat a cactus.

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